Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has made history after swearing-in Rita Frealing as its first Black and first woman mayor.
Several Midstate mayors were sworn in on Monday, but only one made such groundbreaking history. Frealing is the first African American and the first woman to win the title, ABC 27 reports.
While she was overcome with emotion over the historical feat, Frealing also says she is focused on getting to work.
“People are telling me this is a historic first and I appreciate that, but it’s only a historic first because the citizens of Gettysburg, and while it’s historic, now is when we start moving into our future and creating more history,” Frealing said.
She admits to being a little “nervous” about getting voted into office; she is also excited about all she has to learn to fulfill her position.
Rita Frealing sworn in as the first African American and woman to serve as the Mayor of Gettysburg.
— Jeremiah Marshall (@JeremiahMNews) January 3, 2022
“I was a little nervous, but hey, I think that comes with the territory, and I have a lot to learn, and it begins now, and I have been doing things before, but work starts now,” Frealing said.
One of her first goals in office is to focus on the safety of Gettysburg residents as the COVID pandemic looms.
“Collaboration, you have to have people’s input and come together with a census because we all aren’t going to agree, but we all have to do what’s best for the borough and the citizens of Gettysburg,” Frealing said.
Other local politicians applauded the history-making moment and expressed their excitement for Frealing to serve in the mayoral role.
“Frealing ran a very good campaign and a very positive campaign and I think many people were ready to see her as mayor and we’re happy to have her,” president of the Borough of Gettysburg Council Wesley Heyser said.
“And then to elect a black mayor, it means a lot, it means a lot to a community that has struggled for a couple of years,” vice president of the Borough of Gettysburg council Matthew Moon said.
Frealing’s swearing-in comes at the same time the city of Pittsburgh swore in its first Black mayor.